WHILE footballers up and down the country are waiting to find out when they can get back to doing what they love – Cherries star Lewis Cook is thankful for man’s best friend helping him through times away from the training ground.

Like the rest of the country, the 23-year-old is staying at home in a bid to save lives amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In Cook’s case, he is spending time with fiancée Loretta and their dog Milo.

The former Leeds man puts together a makeshift gym at his home in an attempt to stay in top shape for when the beautiful game eventually resumes.

And walks with Milo as part of his daily routine are also helping the England international keep his mind and body fresh.

“He’s a cavapoo,” said the Cherries midfielder, when asked about his four-legged friend.

“He is in the garden quite a lot chasing his ball, so that’s where I spend most of the day!

“I am here with my missus and my dog, which I love really. We are getting things done with the house. I spend a lot of time in the garden sorting that out and doing little things.

“I can take him out for a walk once a day to get my exercise and things like that. Just ticking over and doing things to keep my mind occupied.

“A spot of gardening here and there – I like that quite a lot. The other day was jet washing the patio and then I had to sort the garage out.

“I am not going to lie, I miss things massively. I want to be playing football and those kinds of things.

“But until that happens, it’s all about health.

“You just have to try to maintain yourself really, make sure you are doing the right things, sticking to the guidelines and keeping safe. That’s what I have been doing and so have my family.

“The health of people is the main thing. It’s bigger than football and we just have to make sure everyone is fit and healthy – and everyone can collectively come together and get through this crisis.”

Under-20 World Cup winner Cook memorably made a stunning comeback in the Premier League against Everton in September, after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in December 2018.

He has since gone on to play 22 times in all competitions this season, as he endeavours to help Cherries beat the top-flight drop.

“Obviously I am still focusing on maintaining my fitness, doing my gym and running and things like that,” he added.

“I make a little gym in the house. I’ve got a bike I can do most days and I will go for a run in the morning mainly. I’ve got a few weights and things to maintain my strength.

“That’s at the forefront of my mind, making sure I’ve been doing that right.

“For me personally, since we have been away from football. I have tried to keep to a new routine.

“We have been advised by staff at the club to conduct ourselves now with food etc. It’s a different thing but it’s one to stick to.

“My missus cooks more than me and she is good. She is looking after me. We are trying to use food right - what we’ve got and eat well.”

A dedicated professional, Cook is part of a Cherries squad that is currently 18th in the table – inside the drop zone with Aston Villa and Norwich.

With all English football set to be delayed until at least April 30, what does he think should happen to the 2019-20 season?

“It’s a tough one really. There’s pros and cons to other things that have been said,” he added.

“I think footballers and all the fans want the season to be played to the finish, so hopefully, whenever that may be, we want to get that done. That’s what the players and the fans want, I think.

“You look at Liverpool, they have done so well this season and there are still nine games for everyone else to try to get back up the table. We will see what happens.

“As footballers we have to be ready, but I think we have to focus on making sure people are fit and healthy - and help the vulnerable if needed.”